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One Way III

November 13, 2006

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Another quote from Brian McLaren on why and how some people come to criticize his writing.

Many of these folks, I think, have been trained unconsciously to work by fear. Fear (along with guilt) is a primary means of motivation in many religious communities – the fear of being rejected, corrected, looked down upon, or called “liberal” or some other epithet. It’s weird to see “emergent” now become an epithet for these folks! When some of their young people – maybe their sons and daughters – are attracted to what we’re doing, they understandably wish they would stay “in the fold,” so to speak. So, they attack a few of us to make their flock be afraid of associating with us. It’s a survival thing, I guess. In that case, the criticism is not even aimed at us: it’s aimed at those in their fold who might leave or question things or work for change.

I think that’s a pretty profound observation. I have seen that type of culture exist and be put to use. I also think it plays into the “faking it” that I mentioned before. Sometimes there is such a desire to be right (and there can only be one right) that when change comes along or a challenge to our way of thinking we find something or invent something to attack the entire person or group to keep others away. We have to. We know we don’t have all the answers and can’t be caught not knowing.

10 years ago in Churches of Christ (maybe still in some places) the epithet was “change agents”. No need to listen or think…they are evil, out for change, “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. Its often intellectual exhaustion, where you give up or resort to attacking the messenger instead of continuing or beginning to engage.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2006 6:28 am

    I know our tribe has many obstacles to overcome…it is just a little refreshing to me to know that we are not the only ones. Most of the best books I read are not authored from a CofC point of view, but a view of religiosity vs spirituality.

    Detoxing is both painful and liberating…

  2. November 14, 2006 1:25 pm

    That’s a very astute observation on the part of Brian Mclaren. Experiencing changes can be very difficult even if they are good ones, so we need to remember that whichever side of the changes we happen to be on, I think.

  3. Amy permalink
    November 14, 2006 7:21 pm

    Tommy, that’s a great quote which points to the reason I love this blog community so much. We are a group of “emergent” secret agents scattered among the mainstreamers.

    You guys keep me sane!

  4. November 14, 2006 7:30 pm

    I continue to appreciate your thinking and wonder how you interact with folks down home at your congregation. 🙂

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